Best Way to See a Shooting Star

�Shooting stars� are what people have referred to for centuries when, in reality, they are regarding meteor showers. Meteors are powerful streaks of light that shoot across the night sky. These are caused by small pieces of interplanetary rock and debris, called meteoroids, that crash and burn very high in the upper atmosphere of Earth. When a meteor emerges in the sky, it seems to shoot quickly across the sky, making people think that it is a star. If you live in or near a brightly lit city, your chances of seeing a meteor or �shooting star� are quite low. The odds will likely increase once you drive away from the city and go closer to the constellation from which the meteors will appear to radiate. Driving towards the north will take you to lighter sides and you will be closer to the constellation, Leonids. Driving south will lead you towards darker skies, however the glow dominates the northern hemisphere, the place Leo rises. In addition to city lights, clouds and moonlight can be obstacles for viewing a shooting star. The darker the location is, the better you will be able to view the meteor. They tend to flash by very quickly, so it is best to not stare at the sky for long periods of time, but instead give your eyes a break every half hour or so and make sure your eyes get well adjusted to the dark. Another tip is that astronomers suggest not using any special equipment to see the shooting star with. A telescope or binoculars limits your view to only one are in the sky, which can result in missing a shooting star in another spot of the sky. Your own eyes are the best and most efficient equipment to use. For your own comfort, pack food, water, comfortable chairs, bug spray, blankets, and a flashlight with a red-filter is useful for reading maps and charts without impairing your night vision.

Also, the later at night you are out watching for meteors, the better chances you have of seeing one. Furthermore, you can probably see a random shooting star on almost any night. However, there are some times that the Earth comes across a flow of dusty particles remaining from the evaporation of comets that leave a dirty mark. When such meteor showers occur, something amazing happens. An observer may actually view at least 30 meteors per hour. The next meteor shower to come is going to be on August 13, 2011. A list of annual meteor showers is listed for your convenience below.





Name Date of Peak Moon
Quadrantids January 3 (night) New
Lyrids April 21 (night) Rises after midnight
Eta Aquarids May 5 (night) Sets in early evening
Perseids August 13 (night) Full
Draconids October 8 (night) Nearly full
Orionids October 21 (night) Rises after midnight
Leonids November 17 (night) Rises around midnight
Geminids December 13 (night) Just pass full


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